The aircraft was on a cargo operation from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia to Mallam Amino Kano International Airport in Nigeria. Tire total cargo uplifts were 35 tones packed in 13 pallets and some loose bundles of merchandise that were packed into the underbelly cargo hold.
The normal flight should be four and a half hour's duration and this proceeded without an incident until the aircraft was about thirty minutes from a touchdown at Kano. It was reported that just before tile initial descent of tile aircraft, noxious fumes emanated from the cargo compartment. 'The Flight Engineer was asked to investigate the source of the fumes and pallet number 11 was suspected. The pallet was sprayed with a fire extinguisher and tile smoke evacuation procedure was carried out. This stopped tile fumes temporarily. At 125 nautical miles from Kano when tile initial descent was commenced the Ground Engineer who was then sitting in the cargo compartment reported to tile cockpit that the fumes had started again with increasing intensity. Soon the cockpit was flooded with the fumes to the extent that tile occupants could hardly see their neighbors’. The Captain recollected that the aircraft was set to an initial rate of descent close to 3000 feet per minute and later the pitch trims became ineffective before the aircraft crashed into the marshland. Tire ground marks at the scene of the accident indicated that the aircraft must have descended very slowly into the elephant grass and may have somersaulted on contact with the water, then exploded and disintegrated along tile wreckage trail.